Credit card processing is unavoidable for any business that wants customers to enjoy convenient payment. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost. You have to use a point-of-sale system or a mobile reader, and then there’s the expense of processing fees, which are incurred every time you make a sale. But the percent you’re charged for each sale depends largely on the merchant you select. Moreover, this amount is negotiable. With a little effort, you can pay thousands less in fees over the years. Try these five ways to negotiate lower credit card processing charges for your business.

Purchases Additional Services Through a Single Provider

If a business purchases additional services through a single provider, it can lower the transaction per cost fee. Of course, this depends on which services you need. You probably won’t want to take on services you don’t need to lower the transaction percentage. It’s worth looking at everything a merchant provides, though, and adding services to lower the cost of processing fees.

Cut Services You Don’t Need

Image via Flickr by ray.k

Some companies may lower their transaction fee charges in exchange for taking on additional services, but the opposite could also be true. You may find that by removing services or going with a more minimal offer, your overall expenses are reduced. You should ask about how adding or removing services will affect the cost of transaction fees to see which option is best for you.

Compare Several Merchants’ Rates

Comparing merchant rates is recommended to get the best deal on credit card processing. But it’s also a good strategy if you want to negotiate lower rates. The key is to be prepared to walk away. If you come to the table with another rate from a different provider and the merchant you’re talking to won’t match or beat it, you’ll have to consider the other negotiating tactics covered above. Or, you can suggest that the merchant add extra services or make some other offer to justify the higher rate.

Look for Services Specific to Your Industry

Some merchants offer services tailored to specific industries. For example, restaurant credit card processing is much different than mom-and-pop retail sales in terms of sheer volume. If you’re in a business that deals with lots of transactions — potentially hundreds every hour — negotiate for a special rate or look for a merchant that offers services made for businesses in your industry.

Offer to Bundle Payment Gateway and Account Provider Services

If you’re setting up payment services for a new company and are just starting to explore credit card processing and authorization, you’ll have to set up a credit card processing service and sign up with a merchant account provider. Some people do these things separately or switch to a new merchant later and keep their processing service. But fees and rates are usually higher if you go this route. Instead, ask about setting up a payment gateway through your account provider to lower your transaction fees.

Credit card fees are unavoidable, but you don’t have to settle for high rates. Try these tips to negotiate lower processing fees for your business.